Walther PPS 9mm Range Report: A Great Gun or a Dud?

Concealed Carry

Germany’s Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen – headquartered in the city of Ulm, with its U.S. subsidiary, Walther Arms Inc., located in Fort Smith, Arkansas – is best known for its traditional double action (TDA) semiauto pistols such as the WWII P38 9mm and the PPK .32 ACP that Agent 007 made famous. But Walther has definitely been competitive in the area of striker-fired autopistols as well, and the PPS in particular is based on the P99. 

The PPS made its debut in 2007. The manufacturer’s official info page proudly calls it “The Single-Stack That Started It All,” and elaborates as follows:

“Upon its release, the PPS series transformed the industry by introducing a polymer single-stack concealed carry pistol, effectively establishing a trend that remains popular still today. The PPS M2 is a more refined version of that original design, now measuring only 1” thick! It is the ultimate representation of Walther’s world-renowned performance catered to the expectations of the modern shooter … The thin, yet comfortably full frame provides the most grip surface in its class, allowing ample room for off-hand support. More grip surface provides significantly improved recoil management when combined with the higher grip supplied by the undercut trigger guard.”

Additional specifications include a barrel length of 3.2 inches, an overall length of 6.3 inches, a height of 4.4 inches, and an empty weight of 19.4 ounces. 

Personal Shooting Impressions on Walter PPS

It turned out that the rental range nearest to me which had a PPS available was the Machine Gun Nest in Frederick, Maryland, so I had an excuse to add another shooting facility as well as another firearm to my list of experiences. In addition to being an excellent facility and gun shop, Machine Gun Nest has a super-cool staff, and as the name implies, they indeed have a good variety of full-auto weapons you can try out. 

For this live-fire eval, I purchased 50 rounds of CCI Blazer Brass Case 124-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) “hardball” and a USPA/IPSC Practice Paper Target. I divvied the accuracy test into 25 rounds of head shots at 7 yards followed by 25 yards of torso shots at 25 yards, fired from my preferred Classic Weaver Stance

Ergonomics-wise, the super grip slim frame will definitely appeal to shooters with smaller hands; as for me, my hands are more medium-sized, and therefore the PPS’s grip didn’t fill my hand as nicely as my two usual carry pieces, that being my single-stack Makarov or double-stack Glock 26, but it was still plenty comfortable. With no magazine in place, there’s no space on the grip frame for the pinky, but fortunately, the magazine floorplate is big enough to alleviate that situation. Controls such as the magazine release and slide stop were easy to reach and manipulate. The sight picture was excellent

The trigger pull wasn’t bad but was a good bit on the stiff side, nowhere near as crisp and enjoyable as, say, the Heckler & Koch (HK) VP9. And whilst the 9mm Parabellum cartridge is not a hard kicker by any means, it’s definitely more noticeable and peppier out of a gun of the Walther’s compact size and lightweight, somewhat akin to shooting .38 Special +P loads through a snubnose revolver (though far from a perfect analogy, as the subcompact autopistol is still way more comfortable and enjoyable to shoot than a snubby).

As to accuracy? Decent, but not as pleasing as my aforementioned preferred carry pieces. At 7 yards, it printed two inches high, and my first shot missed the head completely! Ach! After adjusting my aim, I was able to get an even split between hits in the A-zone box and the C-zone of the noggin. At 25 yards, I had my typical righthand/left-eye dominant tendency to pull to the left, with 5 rounds in the C-zone and one round in the (Ach!) D-zone, and the remaining 19 rounds landing in the A-zone.

Reliability was 100 percent, as one would expect from a gunmaker of Walther’s reputation.

Bottom line: Like other Walther striker-fired pistols I’ve fired such as the PPQ and PDP, I find the PPS to be good but not great.

Want Your Own?

True Gun Value states that “A WALTHER PPS pistol is currently worth an average price of $388.00 new and $276.44 used . The 12 month average price is $388.00 new and $279.32 used.” KYGUNCO has a current asking price of $397.99, whilst Impact Guns (catchy name, eh) is selling theirs for $383.99. So then, even though the PPS would not be my first, second, or even third choice for CCW purposes, that is still a superb value-for-price ratio, especially when you consider the proverbial arm and a leg that you used to pay for German-made firearms back in the pre-Euro days of the Deutschmark. 

Christian D. Orr is a Senior Defense Editor for 19FortyFive. He has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. 

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